Aksel Lund Svindal put the rest of the field to the sword as he stormed to his 24th career World Cup win in the Super G in Val Gardena. Svindal was a class above the rest of the field as he won by over half a second from … Jan Hudec and Adrien Theaux taking third. This was the one hundredth World Cup win for Norway, the seventh nation to make this landmark. For Svindal, he was happier to record his 24th career win especially when you look against what some of the bigger Alpine nations have achieved, he explained.
From the start, this was a race that would have many stories to tell. Carlo Janka skied a solid run but nothing great and then Bode Miller came down and destroyed Janka’s time. Miller admitted that he while he was content with his run, he admitted he ran the line a little fine at times and although he did not find the track too difficult, a mistake at the second last gate caused him to scrub a load of speed that would ultimately cost him dear in terms of making the podium.
Romed Baumann was the first to push Miller down the results list and immediately after him Otmar Striedinger, the Austrian who had caused a surprise in taking second in Beaver Creek, skied out. The watching crowd, mainly Italian roared with heartfelt approval as Peter Fill looked like he was going to take the lead until disaster struck for him when he straddled the last gate but one. A clutch of the groin was all that was needed for the jury to inspect the images and put Baumann back in the leaders enclosure!
Jan Hudec has had a tough time in the last few years and admitted after his run that he has had to inspect courses with his injuries in mind. This year he has felt that he can ski the line that he feels is quickest and not what his body would like. He is feeling fit and healthy and ready to ski fast. Hudec posted a time that was very competitive and while Adrien Theaux and Kjetil Jansrud slotted in just behind him, Hudec stayed in front.
For Theaux, following the podium placing in the Lake Louise Downhill, Theaux has been working hard to get back on the podium. The quietly spoken Frenchman was fast and while he was just under half a second behind Hudec, he was happy with his run. While Werner Heel was smooth, he was not challenging for the top spots. Matteo Marsaglia then crashed in a spectacular way as he got late for a gate and then battered his way through it. Still Hudec lead.
The Val Gardena Super G is not one of the focal Super G’s for Ted Ligety with its long gliding sections yet it was a simple line reading error that saw him ski out near the top. Ligety will now focus on the Giant Slalom in Alta Badia on Sunday. Having relinquished his red bib after crashing out in Val d’Isere, Ligety is focused on that.
Bib 19 saw the name of Aksel Lund Svindal flash up and you could feel the crowd’s attention go up a notch. From the wand being opened, Svindal was a man on a mission. The wearer of the bib for this race, Patrick Kueng had already crashed out and Svindal wanted ‘his’ bib back. Hudec could only watch in the finish as Svindal destroyed his time. The Canadians and the Norwegians share course information and Hudec must have been standing in awe as the Norwegian destroyed his time. The friendship and the respect is strong between the two teams and the trust in the course reports is paramount.
When he crossed the line, Svindal was just under six tenths ahead of the Canadian. With three of the top seven seeds still to come, Svindal now had to watch and wait. Hannes Reichelt missed a gate, Georg Streitberger was slightly off the pace and Mathias Mayer missed a gate as well. It was now a battle for the minor places.
As the race wound up, a sudden storm of excitement ripped through the crowd as Hans Olsson started posting fast splits. While not challenging Svindal, Olsson, who is still on the comeback trail was looking good for top twenty and when he crossed the line and saw a man cheering in the crowd, his initial feeling that the run had not been great was dispelled and he saw the number 15 on the scoreboard: Olsson was delighted. The Swede did not ski for some 577 days after injuring his leg and although he felt at times after seeing bad x-rays that things could be up, he never thought about quitting.
Not long after Olsson came down Erik Fisher cracked the top thirty and then Silvan Zurbriggen matched the time of Tobias Stechert who had gone one before him to share the last world c